Featured Wisconsin Cheeses: Emmentaler
Caramelized Onion Pasta Gratin
3 pounds yellow onions (7-8 medium), peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
3/4 pound rigatoni pasta
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup no salt-added beef broth
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Wisconsin Emmentaler Cheese, divided
2 slices white bread, torn into pieces
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Place the onion slices and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide, thick-bottomed sauté pan and
cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and always spreading the onions out evenly
over the surface of the pan. Continue to cook the onions over medium heat for almost two hours,
scraping and deglazing the pan with a little bit of plain water as necessary. Once the onions are
cooked down to about 2 cups, remove the pan from heat and let the caramelized onions cool.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large pot of water, cook the pasta just until al dente,
rinse it thoroughly with cold water, drain well, and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the all-purpose flour, milk, beef broth, salt, and ground pepper. Continue to whisk the mixture over medium heat. When the sauce thickens up to the consistency of custard sauce, remove the saucepan from heat. Whisk in 1 cup of the grated Emmentaler cheese while the mixture is still hot; set aside.
Grease a ceramic or glass 9x12x3-inch baking dish; set aside. In a food processor,
pulse together the bread, the remaining olive oil, the remaining Emmentaler and thyme leaves until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pasta, the cheese sauce, and the caramelized onions,
making sure the onion pieces are distributed evenly. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture all over the surface of the pasta mixture. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the pasta is heated through.
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Emmentaler, Macaroni & Cheese, Recipe, Wisconsin Cheese
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